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Thoughts on why people are walking away from the game...


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#751 Tim Schoch

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Posted 16 November 2018 - 10:02 PM

Reason people leave the game?  . . . Guilt  

We know we should not spend our valuable time and money on a leisure game we suck at, instead of doing truly productive things in life. Golf is a rich person's luxury, not for those of us with things to accomplish on a Walmart salary.  

If you do not believe that, then get out of this thread and enjoy life and golf on your own terms and don't pay attention to the whiners and moaners.  

Golf is fine, but apparently some players have problems.

Edited by Tim Schoch, 16 November 2018 - 10:05 PM.

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#752 DeeBee30

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 08:49 AM

View Postst997777, on 16 November 2018 - 12:22 PM, said:

Time and cost have to be the biggest factors contributing to the decline in participation. It's interesting that everyone complains about slow play, but slow play is always an issue. Most golfers don't know how to play "ready golf" or know how to play when they're riding in a cart.

Amen.  Why don’t courses spend time educating golfers on the proper way to play in carts?  Drop one guy off at his ball with a couple of clubs, go hit your shot, then meet up somewhere further down the hole.

They should create posters on this, tell players in the pro shop and remind them in the first tee.  Rangers should watch for this and remind players on the course.  Over time, it’ll start sinking in.  

But it seems so many courses are just content with racking up tee times every 8 minutes with no regard to the on-course experience for players.  In my mind, they get what they deserve when play declines and they have to sell it off and build townhomes.
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#753 DeeBee30

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 08:59 AM

Sorry to go back-to-back, but I think another issue contributing to slow play in the U.S. is that players come up being so focused on their scores and will play holes out while carding a 9, 10 or higher.   Getting the ball in the cup is seen as the *only* way to conclude a hole.  Another symptom of people trying to emulate what they see on tv.

My impression (overseas golfers, please correct or validate this) is that casual golfers in other areas like the UK grow up playing more match play.  That means holes get done faster because players are either closed out or pick up when they’re out of a hole.  

I don’t have the answer on how you convert players from stroke to match play over time.  I know youth golf has a lot of match play, but a majority of adult golfers didn’t play organized youth golf.  Maybe the USGA needs to pump some marketing dollars into promoting match format, and the PGA needs to add more match play events to the US schedule.
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#754 MaineMariner

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 09:37 AM

I have no interest in playing match play, like at all. It's just not what I want to get out of the sport. I play golf to play the course, not some other person. I don't bet on golf and frankly am not interested in a competitive game.

Now, I am 10000% behind folks, and especially beginners, trying non-stroke play scoring. Especially Stableford. I think that would speed things up tremendously.
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#755 DeeBee30

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 10:07 AM

I’m with you Mariner - I much prefer stroke play as I’m also playing the course/myself most rounds.  But I also think we’re programmed to prefer stroke play.  

It’s certainly not THE answer to slow play and frustration with the game, but we’ve all seen plenty of slow play with guys in foursomes grinding over shots where a few bucks are at stake.

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#756 Golfer4Life

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 10:20 AM

View Postmikpga, on 16 November 2018 - 05:42 PM, said:

Yeah, I don't think the cost of equipment is a contributing factor...

Fortunately for the OEM's, there's still enough golfers out there buying the latest and greatest...

Golfers can find reasonably priced golf clubs...

That's true, but I'm talking about overall cost.
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#757 jordan2240

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 07:50 PM

I'm not really aware of people walking away from the game, but it certainly is primarily a sport best suited to retired folk because of the time involved.  Most working stiffs can only play on weekends, and if you have kids involved in activities, that typically takes precedence.  It's also quite expensive on weekends, and generally much slower.  Since I retired, the only time I'll play on weekends is when my son-in-law wants to play, which isn't often, thankfully.

But I do think there are people who quit because of the frustration of not getting better.  If you are golfing just for score, then frustration can be a significant element.  I'd suggest getting a nice push-cart and highlighting the fitness aspect of golf. I really don't derive much fun from hitting the ball, driving up to it, then hitting it again.  I like golf for its meditative aspects as much as for the game itself, though I find the quality of meditation is directly related to the number of decent shots I hit.

As for 'match play' vs 'stroke play,' I used to want nothing to do with anything other than stroke play.  Then I started playing with a few older guys who preferred to team up and play 'better ball,' so the foursome would split into teams of 2, and each team would play from the spot where the 'better ball' landed.  We keep both 'match play' score and 'stroke play' score, and I've found it's a really enjoyable way to play.  Typically everyone contributes at least a few shots per round, and since you aren't usually hitting from behind trees or out of thick weeds, it's a good way to practice 'normal' shots.  And you don't get nearly as many high score on a hole.  Typically, bogey is about the most any given team will get, so it does speed up the game somewhat.  You also have some incentive from a competitive standpoint to hit the most 'better balls' on your team.  I still enjoy stroke play of course, but 'better ball' play is a nice change of pace.

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#758 FourTops

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Posted 17 November 2018 - 08:23 PM

PianoWorld and GuitarWorld have forums on why people walk away from the piano or guitar.  They want to play like Eddie Van Halen or Elton John after a few weeks.

Edited by FourTops, 17 November 2018 - 08:24 PM.


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#759 Stumpnav

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 08:12 PM

Yesterday I had a chance to get out for about two and a half hours. If I had the course to myself, I would have been able to play 18. When I got to the first tee, there was a single on the green and another single in the middle of the fairway. I don't have a problem with single, I just want to play fast. So I drove over to number 6 which was empty and I took off. By 7, I was behind a five-some...playing from all four tee boxes. They didn't even think about me playing through. After #9, I swung back to a wide open #1. It took me until #3 to get stuck behind a six-some. After #5, they were going to let me play through, but I had already played those holes. I tried to jump ahead to #15, but by then the five-some from the front side was there.
If that happened all the time, it would be enough to drive me from the game. It's one thing to play slow...it's another to play slow and block others.
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#760 FourTops

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 08:15 PM

View PostStumpnav, on 18 November 2018 - 08:12 PM, said:

Yesterday I had a chance to get out for about two and a half hours. If I had the course to myself, I would have been able to play 18. When I got to the first tee, there was a single on the green and another single in the middle of the fairway. I don't have a problem with single, I just want to play fast. So I drove over to number 6 which was empty and I took off. By 7, I was behind a five-some...playing from all four tee boxes. They didn't even think about me playing through. After #9, I swung back to a wide open #1. It took me until #3 to get stuck behind a six-some. After #5, they were going to let me play through, but I had already played those holes. I tried to jump ahead to #15, but by then the five-some from the front side was there.
If that happened all the time, it would be enough to drive me from the game. It's one thing to play slow...it's another to play slow and block others.

Ha!  Sounds like people are walking to play the same tees!


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#761 Golfer4Life

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 09:24 PM

View PostFourTops, on 17 November 2018 - 08:23 PM, said:

PianoWorld and GuitarWorld have forums on why people walk away from the piano or guitar.  They want to play like Eddie Van Halen or Elton John after a few weeks.

I'm a classical guitarist and have played with some serious accomplished people and well known artists.  People think that playing guitar is as easy as the opening riff to Smoke on the Water.  Unfortunately,  we live in a society of instant gratification and when that doesn't pan out, adios.

Fortunately for me I have been able to score some beautiful Sunbursts and Reissues, lol...

Edited by Golfer4Life, 18 November 2018 - 09:25 PM.

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#762 FourTops

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 09:26 PM

View PostGolfer4Life, on 18 November 2018 - 09:24 PM, said:

View PostFourTops, on 17 November 2018 - 08:23 PM, said:

PianoWorld and GuitarWorld have forums on why people walk away from the piano or guitar.  They want to play like Eddie Van Halen or Elton John after a few weeks.

I'm a classical guitarist and have played with some serious accomplished people and well known artists.  People think that playing guitar is as easy as the opening riff to Smoke on the Water.  Unfortunately,  we live in a society of instant gratification and when that doesn't pan out, adios.

Fortunately for me I have been able to score some beautiful Sunbursts, lol...

I play moderately serious piano....it seems like a never-ending journey.  I LOVE listening to Classical Guitar because it's SO FRIGGIN HARD.  I know because I somewhat play guitar and it ain't Smoke on the Water!  As a side question....do you think learning golf is like learning the guitar?

Edited by FourTops, 18 November 2018 - 09:27 PM.


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#763 Golfer4Life

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 09:33 PM

View PostFourTops, on 18 November 2018 - 09:26 PM, said:

View PostGolfer4Life, on 18 November 2018 - 09:24 PM, said:

View PostFourTops, on 17 November 2018 - 08:23 PM, said:

PianoWorld and GuitarWorld have forums on why people walk away from the piano or guitar.  They want to play like Eddie Van Halen or Elton John after a few weeks.

I'm a classical guitarist and have played with some serious accomplished people and well known artists.  People think that playing guitar is as easy as the opening riff to Smoke on the Water.  Unfortunately,  we live in a society of instant gratification and when that doesn't pan out, adios.

Fortunately for me I have been able to score some beautiful Sunbursts, lol...

I play moderately serious piano....it seems like a never-ending journey.  I LOVE listening to Classical Guitar because it's SO FRIGGIN HARD...I know, I somewhat play guitar and it ain't Smoke on the Water!  As a side question....do you think learning golf is like learning the guitar?

I started with piano at an early age, but was pushed too hard by my mom, lol...

To be honest, I have never taken golf seriously enough to apply the same amount of discipline as I do with guitar playing.  With guitar, I practice two hours a day, not including theory and music reading.  

My guitar playing is an investment that I have used to make some money while holding a career. The equipment is not cheap as you probably now, so it is a different approach for me.
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#764 FourTops

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 09:43 PM

View PostGolfer4Life, on 18 November 2018 - 09:33 PM, said:

View PostFourTops, on 18 November 2018 - 09:26 PM, said:

View PostGolfer4Life, on 18 November 2018 - 09:24 PM, said:

View PostFourTops, on 17 November 2018 - 08:23 PM, said:

PianoWorld and GuitarWorld have forums on why people walk away from the piano or guitar.  They want to play like Eddie Van Halen or Elton John after a few weeks.

I'm a classical guitarist and have played with some serious accomplished people and well known artists.  People think that playing guitar is as easy as the opening riff to Smoke on the Water.  Unfortunately,  we live in a society of instant gratification and when that doesn't pan out, adios.

Fortunately for me I have been able to score some beautiful Sunbursts, lol...

I play moderately serious piano....it seems like a never-ending journey.  I LOVE listening to Classical Guitar because it's SO FRIGGIN HARD...I know, I somewhat play guitar and it ain't Smoke on the Water!  As a side question....do you think learning golf is like learning the guitar?

I started with piano at an early age, but was pushed too hard by my mom, lol...

To be honest, I have never taken golf seriously enough to apply the same amount of discipline as I do with guitar playing.  With guitar, I practice two hours a day, not including theory and music reading.  

My guitar playing is an investment that I have used to make some money while holding a career. The equipment is not cheap as you probably now, so it is a different approach for me.

You kinda hit the nail on the head....applying the same amount of discipline. When I play something like Moonlight Sonata, I can't "think" while playing or all goes to s**t.  But that's only possible because of all the preparation...scales...theory...and playing other pieces to prepare me for the dastardly classical pieces.  You're right, people have no idea how difficult it is to play excellent guitar.

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#765 Golfer4Life

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Posted 18 November 2018 - 10:02 PM

View PostFourTops, on 18 November 2018 - 09:43 PM, said:

View PostGolfer4Life, on 18 November 2018 - 09:33 PM, said:

View PostFourTops, on 18 November 2018 - 09:26 PM, said:

View PostGolfer4Life, on 18 November 2018 - 09:24 PM, said:

View PostFourTops, on 17 November 2018 - 08:23 PM, said:

PianoWorld and GuitarWorld have forums on why people walk away from the piano or guitar.  They want to play like Eddie Van Halen or Elton John after a few weeks.

I'm a classical guitarist and have played with some serious accomplished people and well known artists.  People think that playing guitar is as easy as the opening riff to Smoke on the Water.  Unfortunately,  we live in a society of instant gratification and when that doesn't pan out, adios.

Fortunately for me I have been able to score some beautiful Sunbursts, lol...

I play moderately serious piano....it seems like a never-ending journey.  I LOVE listening to Classical Guitar because it's SO FRIGGIN HARD...I know, I somewhat play guitar and it ain't Smoke on the Water!  As a side question....do you think learning golf is like learning the guitar?

I started with piano at an early age, but was pushed too hard by my mom, lol...

To be honest, I have never taken golf seriously enough to apply the same amount of discipline as I do with guitar playing.  With guitar, I practice two hours a day, not including theory and music reading.  

My guitar playing is an investment that I have used to make some money while holding a career. The equipment is not cheap as you probably now, so it is a different approach for me.

You kinda hit the nail on the head....applying the same amount of discipline. When I play something like Moonlight Sonata, I can't "think" while playing or all goes to s**t.  But that's only possible because of all the preparation...scales...theory...and playing other pieces to prepare me for the dastardly classical pieces.  You're right, people have no idea how difficult it is to play excellent guitar.

Nice take.   I know for a fact that if I don't even stretch properly before a session, my session is not going to go well.  So add 15 minutes of stretching alone, lol...

I love music much more than I golf, but mainly because I have put into it long hours, for years, to be good at it.

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#766 Pepperturbo

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 01:17 PM

View PostGolfer4Life, on 17 November 2018 - 10:20 AM, said:

View Postmikpga, on 16 November 2018 - 05:42 PM, said:

Yeah, I don't think the cost of equipment is a contributing factor...

Fortunately for the OEM's, there's still enough golfers out there buying the latest and greatest...

Golfers can find reasonably priced golf clubs...

That's true, but I'm talking about overall cost.

Item costs of golf are not a significant deterrent.  As you said, it's overall costs plus the time needed to feel proficient.   Buying clubs are a  one time cost, but mid-high caps loose balls, so those can be costly, plus misc and different green fees, clothes, how often one plays, practice range costs, the price of gas to reach a range or golf course, food, maybe 19th hole costs.  Even if my wife and I only play muni courses that range $60-$80 x 2, I spend over $500 per month.

If only one person plays golf and spends $250-$300+ a month, that's a lot of money for a young couple with child plus.  Though my married 20 something son with a working wife and one child can afford to play golf, they know to make choices on what and where to spend money because they're saving to buy a house.

When golf decided to avail itself to a broader range of people, it wasn't a prudent decision as it causes a more significant fluctuation of the golf economy.   And of course, it's those people that want to play more but for the aforementioned reasons can't play, complain the most about the cost of golf and time demands. :beach:

Edited by Pepperturbo, 19 November 2018 - 01:31 PM.

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#767 Ferguson

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 01:28 PM

View PostPepperturbo, on 19 November 2018 - 01:17 PM, said:

View PostGolfer4Life, on 17 November 2018 - 10:20 AM, said:

View Postmikpga, on 16 November 2018 - 05:42 PM, said:

Yeah, I don't think the cost of equipment is a contributing factor...

Fortunately for the OEM's, there's still enough golfers out there buying the latest and greatest...

Golfers can find reasonably priced golf clubs...

That's true, but I'm talking about overall cost.

Item costs of golf are not a significant deterrent.  As you said, it's overall costs plus the time needed to feel proficient.   Buying clubs are a  one time cost, but mid-high caps loose balls, so those can be costly, plus misc and different green fees, clothes, how often one plays, practice range costs, the price of gas to reach a range or golf course, food, maybe 19th hole costs.  Even if my wife and I only muni courses that range $60-$80 x 2, I spend over $500 per month.

If only one person plays golf and spends $250-$300+ a month, that's a lot of money for a young couple with child plus.  Though my married 20 something son with a working wife and one child can afford to play golf, they know to make choices on what and where to spend money because they're saving to buy a house.

When golf decided to avail itself to a broader range of people, it wasn't a prudent decision as it causes a more significant fluctuation of the golf economy.   And of course, it's those people that want to play more but for the aforementioned reasons can't play, complain the most about the cost of golf and time demands. :beach:


In other words - anyway you slice it, broad range or hyper-focused range, it's expensive and takes a commitment.

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#768 GeoffDickson

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 03:34 PM

Whatever explanation you provide, it needs to be powerful enough to explain a decline in golf participation in most parts of the world....

The issues of bad golf cart etiquette or bad coaching is just not powerful enough to explain the phenomenon. Most (former) golfers don't use golf carts and even fewer ever got lessons.

Edited by GeoffDickson, 19 November 2018 - 03:39 PM.


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#769 Tim Schoch

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 09:36 PM

The reality is that our culture has changed and kids aren't raised to go outside and play or make up a game. There is entertainment, games, movies, friends, and information right on their phones in real time. We now live in a virtual world where the kid raised on outdoor golf will gonout and play it, but the kids babysat by videos and Nintendo will be just as happy playing virtual golf online, hopefully with explosions.  In yhe future, real life will not be available or even wanted by some.  Golf is more than ever becoming a game for the rich. Faced with an initial investment beyond their means, whole families are sayng no to golf.
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#770 FourTops

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 10:06 PM

View PostTim Schoch, on 19 November 2018 - 09:36 PM, said:

The reality is that our culture has changed and kids aren't raised to go outside and play or make up a game. There is entertainment, games, movies, friends, and information right on their phones in real time. We now live in a virtual world where the kid raised on outdoor golf will gonout and play it, but the kids babysat by videos and Nintendo will be just as happy playing virtual golf online, hopefully with explosions.  In yhe future, real life will not be available or even wanted by some.  Golf is more than ever becoming a game for the rich. Faced with an initial investment beyond their means, whole families are sayng no to golf.

A world in which you want us to believe is true because you shanked your wedge into the woods.  Whole families in my area are joining private clubs in droves.


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#771 FourTops

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Posted 19 November 2018 - 10:08 PM

I find it interesting that an OP would post a negative comment about "walking away from golf" to a band of brothers who think the opposite.  What is the OP doing on here if their thought is walking away from golf?

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#772 bobcat

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 02:46 PM

The decline is not about people walking away from golf...it's about not enough people walking towards it!... :swoon:

:golfer:

Edited by bobcat, 04 December 2018 - 02:47 PM.

What's in Bobcat's Bag?  (Showing more than 14 clubs due to options)

Driver: TM 2015 9.5* SLDR-C - 45.5" Miyazaki Kusala Black 61s (tipped 1/2")
Fairway: TM Tour-iussue V-Steel 15* 3W - 43.25" Fujikura 757 Speeder Stiff
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#773 Barfolomew

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 06:46 PM

Walkin away..... then how come I can even get a spot at our range and tee times are packed? I am rockin it in So Cal tho....
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#774 Tim Schoch

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 10:19 PM

Those who belong in the game will stay. Those who are "trying" the game have never really arrived, so they do not count. So who is leaving? And who is saying people are leaving?

Do you really think anyone is counting regulars at every publinx in the country?   Courses are packed.  So "Walking away from the game" means not buying enough golf balls, new equipment, club memberships, or Impact Snap gimmicks.  

When people say "Oooo no new golf courses are being built," what they are really saying is they have run out of rich prople to join them.  Is there an industry building public golf courses that are reasonable?  No.

Yet we all are expected to pay through the teeth to get fit for expensive new clubs, take expensive lessons, buy the $100 golf aid gimmicks because the expensive coaches can't do their jobs, etc.  It is the money grab that is dying.

Golf is not yet a 100% elitist game, but it is going in that direction. The new focus on gambling won't help. I have worked for decades in marketing and commercial media, and what our game desperately needs is a nonprofit medium that promotes grassroots family golf and values without the commercialism.  

Enjoy your grassroots golf while you can. Your kids might not be so lucky.  


"I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member."
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TaylorMade Burner (2007) 10.5* REAX reg graphite
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Adams Idea A12 #4 Hybrid 21* VTS Proforce reg graphite
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#775 evansmar004

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 02:49 PM

The people buying are the ones that want to buy...doesn't matter what sport I always bought everything new. Still do


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#776 MetaGolfer

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 08:40 PM

Like anything....golf is a revolving door.  People start and quit all kinds of things from musical instruments to college degrees to starting their own business even though they have an excellent idea.  It's really about a commitment.

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#777 Mikey5e

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 09:32 AM

Let them walk away, more tee times for real enthusiasts. Although, I am just not seeing the exodus, courses are packed.

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#778 Moxley

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 12:17 PM

One positive reason would be family - previously the sport was played by men, generally affluent, who didn't think twice about spending their time off on the course. Men now play an active role in the family, and that reduces the time for golf.

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#779 leftyDH04

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 12:38 PM

At least they are walking somewhere.  Most golfers these days don't want to walk from the bar to the bathroom.  If the door was wide enough to pull a cart through it I'm sure someone would try it.

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#780 @_the_crook

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 08:00 PM

we talked about the number of active players in our area today at the local CC store.
they see more dedicated players so the viewpoint is slightly skewed.
we compared who in each others families are players, whose backgrounds involved the game, etc.

topics included the generation from 25-40, that would have some disposable income and maybe the time to learn and play.
therein lies the gap.
many are folks who were seriously affected by the recession of 2008. if they were in college, there was no extra money for an expensive hobby like this.
if in their early working years - same issue.
once getting established in life, no time to take expensive lessons and establish a pricey stockpile of equipment.
to boot, their first hobbies were built on electronic media that did not include a great social skillset.
to them, golf was stereotyped as the old man's game.

keep in mind, you cannot buy a game, you have to be taught and practice quite a bit.
XBox and Playstation are much easier and your embarrassments are in private.

the studies we have seen show that half the money now spent on this game is funded by the over 50 player, so it's just not that people are leaving, it's more likely than many have not even begun to play.
if the current approach to youth instruction and leagues can get the under 20 market really interested, then there's a chance for an increase in active play, but that group isn't ready to fully fund what the old schoolers won't be able to support forever.

municipalities need to maintain their courses for the entire community to enjoy.
most of us need a few local courses that are affordable, have decent instructors and a proshop.
in that way, we can attempt to fill the gap from two directions.

currently playing:
Steelhead III - D
Warbirds, 3+, 4
Hogan BH-5, 3-PW
Wilson DynaPowered SW
Ping Anser
it works

when I need a change, there are 12 bags full to choose from .

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